Tonight! Wednesday! Come Tweet With Me About Producing on #FilmIn140

My producing partner on SUPER, Miranda Bailey, and my former Sundance Creative Producing Mentoree -- and an innovative producer in his own right -- Thomas Woodrow will be joining Sheri Candler and the good folks at Film Threat, and hopefully hordes of others -- like you, and you, and you -- for a discussion on the role of the producer. This is just one of the many new ways a truly free film community is joining forces to emphasize access, collaboration, and demystification. Wanna be part of it? It's easy. All you have to do is...

Read this as FilmThreat explains how to join the #FilmIn140 discussion clearly for you.

Top Ten Tips For A GREEN Indie Production (Pt. 3 of 3)

The last two days film producer/director Miranda Bailey has guest posted sharing her trials and tribulations at trying to make indie film green.  Today she shares her tips. Miranda's Ten Tips for Greening Your Film.

1.) Take a deep breath and realize you will not be able to be completely green. Acknowledge what you can green - Trash, Catering, Water Bottles - and go from there.

2.) Make sure there is a recycling bin next to EVERY GARBAGE CAN.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.

3.) Give everyone a reusable water bottle and show them where they can fill it up instead of using plastic disposable ones. As soon as they lose them, which should be with in the first 48hours of giving them out, give them another one and use the money you saved by not buying water bottles on buying a gazillion Sigg bottles.

4.) Tell Craft Services it is very important to you to use non-disposable plates and utensils at meals.

5.) Look in the trash. See that soda can or bottle in there that should be in the recycling bin that is right next to it!... pick it out and put it in the proper bin.  Then tell a PA you don't want to have to do that again and that you will give them quarter for every person they tell to recycle from here on in.

6.) Go raise your budget to include $100 a day for the PA you had to hire that has to guard the trashcans.

7.) When you are on set a week later, and you notice that there are trash cans located everywhere, but no recycling bins anymore. Find that PA and tell him/her to put the recycling bin that got moved and forgotten about back next to the trash can. Tell them to make sure there is ALWAYS a recycling bin next to the trash can. And when they say they are too busy because we are actually making a movie not a recycling competition…hire another one whose sole purpose is to make sure we recycle.

8.) When you are at lunch and you realize you are eating with a plastic fork, complain to catering and ask why it isn't silverware. Demand Silverware.

9.) Go raise your budget AGAIN to hire your catering another dishwasher because they refuse to use non-disposable plates and utensils on the budget you originally negotiated with them.

10.) Never drive where you can walk.  And always use recycled paper if you can afford it.

I do understand that these are the more REALISTIC greening tips than ones that Lauren Selman our Green Consultant and all around awesome chic would say, so I’ll mention her tips as well. Because, hers are the ones we all strive for…or should anyway.

Laurens Greening Tips: (as printed in The Independent -http://bit.ly/a5WaYl)

- Have a green point person.

- Train the production assistants and crew early.

- Get reusable water bottles.

- Get recycling bins for sets and trailers.

- Pass sets forward, to other productions, or donate.

- Get reusable canvas bags for PA runs.

- Get reusable garment bags for wardrobe.

- Encourage departments to carpool.

- Get a printer that prints double sided, and use recycled paper.

- Get reusable coffee mugs.

- Don’t throw away food.

- Don’t use Styrofoam.

Recently there are ton of resources that have sprouted up on best practices for greening films. Here are some of them:

Film Biz Recycling - http://www.filmbizrecycling.org/

EMA Make Your Production Green - http://www.ema-online.org/for_productions.php

California Film Commission Green Resource Guide-http://www.film.ca.gov/GreenFilmmaking.htm

Good Luck!

Miranda Bailey

www.greenlit.org

Miranda Bailey is a Producer, Actress and now Documentary Film Director. She is a Partner at the production company Ambush Entertainment in Hollywood.  Upcoming films from Miranda include Every Day,  & Super- out in 2010.  Her past films include: Squid and the Whale, Wonderful World Oh in Ohio, Against the Current.  Her website:www.ambushentertainment.com

Green Indie? It's A Hard Road (Pt. 2 of 3)

This is the second guest post from producer Miranda Bailey.  Part One ran here yesterday.

A lot of people want to be green on set, but the cost associated with it rises. I had heard that being green saves you money and that makes sense theoretically, but even something as simple as recycling has its costs.

First off you need more trash bins. Secondly, you really need to have someone there to make sure people put the right stuff in the right bin. You would think that a simple sign would work. Recycling goes here, other stuff goes in there right? But sadly, it doesn’t work like that.

I have now tried to “Green” three films. On the last film I produced (with Ted Hope), SUPER, we had recycling bins all over the place but no matter how many times I checked there was always some douche bag that put food where the bottles should be or bottles where the trash should be. I got so annoyed with it I told a PA I would give him a quarter for every can or bottle he kept from getting put in the wrong garbage. Guess what that meant…yup, our budget went up.

When I tried being “green” on our film Every Day (which comes out to theaters in January btw J) we specifically told the caterers that we did not want any plastic or Styrofoam offered during lunch. We wanted to have a “green” film so we were going to use ceramic and silverware. They whole-heartedly agreed to this when we interviewed them and seemed to have no problems with it. However, when the first lunch came I noticed there was not one single silverware item or ceramic plate on the tables. It was paper plates and plastic forks and guess what? It all ended up in the trash with everything else including cans, bottles and food. This was embarrassing.

I spoke to our Green Consultant Lauren about this since I had hired her after The River Why for this film as well. Thanks to her and The River Why producer I had learned a lot about the waste that films accumulate and I wanted to do my part, and not be one of those people who makes a movie about Greening but doesn’t change their own lives. Lauren went and spoke to the caterers. She then came to me and said they told her that it was just the first day and they were still getting themselves up and running. I understood that, no biggie. I mean who hasn’t’ used paper plates at their own BBQ to avoid a big clean up right?  But the next day…SAME THING! Not a single non-disposable item in site. What the hell? Were they still getting up and running? I thought let me wait it out for one more day. Day 3…you guessed it, same thing. My EP and I were pretty peeved so went to talk to them ourselves. Hiding behind our Green Consultant obviously wasn’t working. We asked what the problem was, we were very specific about how we were trying to be a “green “film and this paper plate and plastic ware mumbo jumbo wasn’t’ jiving with that, not to mention we made this clear before they hired them. They then said, “Listen guys, if you want to give us more money to hire a dishwasher go for it, but I’m not getting paid enough to wash dishes”. WOW!

Here I was on an indie film that was already over budget, everyone is under paid from the actor to the craft services and now my caterers are asking me for more money to not have to toss away plates and forks. What should I have done? Well, monetarily I should have just agreed to the toss away ware and kept the costs down. We couldn’t afford it, and let’s face it, indie dramas were hard to sell at any cost, I’d be lucky to get my postproduction costs covered for this film on the sale. Or I could walk the talk that I had learned from Lauren when making the film Greenlit--- which is that the importance of

Greening a film HAS to come from the top down. I can’t expect my crews to go out of pocket because I want them to be green…I HAVE TO BE GREEN and I have to put my money where my mouth is. So I did. We said OK; we will hire a dishwasher for you just promise there will be no more plastic or paper. They did. And the rest of the shoot the caters were “green”. Or as green as that means anyway. I wondered did all that water used to clean the dishes also contribute to waste? Oy! You just can’t win can you? I want to be green. I want to be so green that James Cameron uses me for a new green humanoid in Avatar 2. But it seems that no matter how hard I try it is an uphill battle…especially alone.

I wonder if there is a way to focus on the film you are making and know that someone else is making sure you are being as responsible to the environment as you can be on set. That is the business that Lauren is trying to create with Reel Green Media and I think if more films and shows incorporate someone like this into their crew than we can all be at least a little greener.

This is Part Two of a three part article.  Tomorrow: Miranda & Lauren's Top Ten Tips For A Green Set.  Yesterday's "Can An Indie Film Really Be Green?" started us off.

Miranda Bailey is a Producer, Actress and now Documentary Film Director. She is a Partner at the production company Ambush Entertainment in Hollywood.  Upcoming films from Miranda include Every Day,  & Super- out in 2010.  Her past films include: Squid and the Whale, Wonderful World, Oh in Ohio, Against the Current.  Her website:www.ambushentertainment.com

Can An Indie Film Really Be "Green"? (Pt. 1 of 3)

Guest post from producer Miranda Bailey.

Even though I have been working in indie films for the last 10 years I never thought about the waste my company or my industry was creating and outputting each time we went into production on a movie; that is until my company Ambush Entertainment got involved on a film called The River Why. As with all indie films there are struggles along the way in making any movie and most of them revolve around money. There is never enough. So when I heard the producer of The River Why wanted to make the film “green” right after a discussion concerning the fact that we were actually going to try put the film in the can with out the completion funds in place, I thought everyone who was up for this idea might have gone mad.

What did that even mean? GREEN? And how much was that going to cost?

In order to find out, I met up with Lauren Selman of Reel Green Media, the environmental consultant that the production wanted to hire to go “green”.  I expected her to be one of those earthy granola old hippie types or perhaps a eco science professor type. Boy was I wrong. She was a cute, bubbly blonde fresh out of Berkeley  who really hadn’t even dipped her foot in the world of films except for a student project here or there, and her thesis working on an indie film in San Francisco helping them recycle. “Oh Great”! I thought. “This is the person who is going to GREEN our film? Please, what does she know”... apparently a lot. Quite a lot.

When we sat down together and she started telling me about specific productions and what they have done to our eco systems or landscapes and I was shocked! I thought to myself… “Well, that isn’t me. I don’t’ do that!” but do I? And that is where my interest in “Greening” productions began.

I decided to follow Lauren and film her journey to green The River Why.  I wanted to know how to do it. How filmmakers avoid all the waste we were apparently producing? When I started filming Greenlit I thought it might be a cute little behind the scenes footage type of thing for the DVD or something small like that. But it got a lot bigger.

The reasons it got bigger were because so much DRAMA occurred with “greening” of this film. I figured the crew would be totally into “greening” since the film shot in Oregon. I assumed that they would be a bunch of Birkenstock wearing, vegetarian eating, eco nerds. But they weren’t that at all. They were a skilled, insightful, film crew who knew what they were doing and what they needed to do their job and unfortunately that meant that some of them ended up revolting against most of the ideas set in place by Lauren.

Maybe they were upset because they thought she was getting paid more than they were, or maybe they thought she didn’t belong because she wasn’t in any of their unions. Have you ever seen a line item for Green Consulant? Who knows, all I know is it ended up being Gossip Girl meets An Inconvenient Truth, and I thought it was extremely interesting and also hilarious.

I had to make this into it’s own film. So I did. It is called GREENLIT. It premiered at SXSW in 2010 and is now out in VOD and DVD. (Btw- VOD is super green…no packaging!) You can see some of the drama on the trailer here: www.greenlit.org

The biggest lesson I learned about “greening” a film also applies to “greening” our lives. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to change even the nominal things. That is why it really isn’t done on sets in Hollywood, at least not like everyone says it is.

When we began in pre- production I thought that Lauren would be implementing change in every department. Perhaps she would be making sure that the wardrobe department was using bio degradable soap and all the costumes would be donated or used or organic cotton? Maybe she would make sure craft services is all local and organic, serving no paper plate products, and that the transpo department would consist of all hybrids or bio diesel vehicles. I was sure everyone would carpool. The make up department would only use phalate, paraben and cruelty free makeup right?  Turns out I had an overly idealistic idea of what “greening” a film was. All of these things were suggested and encouraged by Lauren but they didn’t happen-- not fully anyway.

The main change that occurred going to a green set was that there were absolutely no disposable water bottles on set. And man, was the crew pissed. They wanted their water bottles. It was hot and the big jugs of water with tiny cups weren’t going to cut it. A few other minor changes happened as well. There was recycling on set, which shockingly had to be micromanaged by Lauren, and only on one day were they able to compost.

The reason more ‘greening’ didn’t happen on this indie film is because it wasn’t realistic. Not then anyway. And frankly, it was too expensive. Seventh Generation donated some stuff to the film, which was awesome, but we had to pay product placement services for that. Using 100 % recycled paper was definitely not in their budget so they used 30% recycled here and there, and when they could, they tried to double side scripts. Although that proved time consuming and caused more problems than it solved. Some of the crew camped out at one of the sites which production sold the idea to them that it was “greener” when no one had to drive to set every day, but I’m pretty sure that was due to the fact that they didn’t have the money to put the crew up in any hotels and it was just a few miles shy of the union rules which would require housing. After a 14 hour or + work day no crew would want to drive an hour home and back. So they pitched their tents and camped.

It was tough being “green”! Even the “green” producers who stayed in the same housing together drove separate cars to set, which confused the crew with their agenda. Were they really into being green or was this a publicity thing for the film so they could say they were? That is a question I ask now whenever I read about a studio or film “going green”. Not that it is bad, we have to start somewhere and doing the right thing for other reasons can’t be so bad if it is really for good, right? Hell, I made a movie about it-that I want people to buy and download so I can recoup my budget… how “green” could I be?

Tomorrow Part 2: The Hard Road To Indie Green.

Miranda Bailey is a Producer, Actress and now Documentary Film Director. She is a Partner at the production company Ambush Entertainment in Hollywood.  Upcoming films from Miranda include Every Day,  & Super- out in 2010.  Her past films include: Squid and the Whale, Wonderful World Oh in Ohio, Against the Current.  Her website: www.ambushentertainment.com